This Dude’s Motivational Speech About Success Will Light An Inferno Under Your Ass

Standard

If a magic genie gave me three wishes, one of them would be to have this guy give me a pep talk every afternoon before I start my day. Screw coffee, I’d just need this Denzel Washington-looking-mafucka to tell me how worthless I am before I even brush my teeth to light a fire under my ass that has been dormant for nearly three decades.

This part of the speech speaks to me:

And what I hate about this generation, with the Snapchat and the Instagram, you can live something that you’re not living. You can fake it on Instagram, but when I follow you home..let me follow you home and see what you got.

It bothers me more than it should to see people who were useless in high school suddenly at a Vegas pool party on daddy’s dime accompanied with the caption ‘Casual Tuesday’ or ‘We DoN’t WaIt In LiNeS.’ I am also of the belief that for every selfie posted to social media it should be mandated, by law, to include the 10 that were discarded. It’s only fair. I have wasted so much time and money going on dates with girls who have falsely represented themselves on Instagram. I’m not saying that I’m shallow, well kinda, but if a girl is lying about what her face really looks like she’s also probably lying about her ‘platonic’ relationship with her personal trainer, Chaz. Trust is the basis of a relationship. We can all agree on that.

P.S. This speaker’s name is Eric Thomas. Follow him on Instagram for some enthusiastic doses of reality.

from BroBible.com http://bit.ly/2kaE354
via IFTTT

Try AI remixing in Regroover with these tips and exclusive sounds

Standard

Regroover opens up new ways of transforming sounds and remixing materials, as powered by machine learning. Here’s how you can try that out, for free.

CDM got the chance to partner with developer Accusonus to help introduce this way of working. And it is a somewhat new approach: you’re separating audio components from rhythmic material, starting with a stereo file. It’s new enough that you might not immediately know where to begin.

So, to get you started, we’ve collaborated on a tutorial and a sound pack.

You don’t need to buy anything here. There’s a 14-day unlimited trial version for download:
http://bit.ly/2ilWtzq

Then, the trick is really understanding the different creative possibilities of Regroover’s toolset. I put together a video – the challenge to myself being really to take a generic sound and do something new with it. I usually ignore all those loops that come with music software, but here it wound up being useful. Sure, I could have programmed my own loop here from scratch, but by working with Regroover, I got to chop up the groove/rhythmic feel and sounds themselves, independent of one another.

Here’s a fast step-by-step walkthrough of the interface:

First, to load the sound pack we’re giving you, choose “load project.” Then navigate to your download, which is grouped by different kits and loops (yeah, there’s a lot of stuff in there).

Second, check tempo settings. Sometimes it’s necessary to halve or double the detected bpm, just as in other time stretching tools. Also, you need to manually sync to the host tempo any time it changes – that’s because it takes a moment for those machine learning-powered algorithms to analyze the file.

You may want to transform the default analysis. The “split” tool allows for some creative manipulation of the number of layers, and how dense different layers are.

Not all Regroover manipulations have to be radical. You can start out just by emphasizing or de-mphasizing portions of the loop – adjusting its relative amplitude and mid/side and left/right panning. I suspect some of you will be happy just making subtle modifications to loops and otherwise leaving them as-is; if you don’t change the tempo, those will sound fairly close to the original. But this is still really different than the usual EQ and compression tools available to you.

As I demonstrate in the video, you can create polyrhythms inside an existing loop by adjusting in and out point on each layer. Again, that’s normally impossible with a stereo audio mix.

You can pull out individual portions of a sound by double-clicking, then dragging a selection. From there, you can drag and drop either into Regroover’s own sampler facility, or back into a host/DAW like Ableton Live.

You may want to check out Regroover’s built-in sampler tools. You’ll find all the usual facilities for amplitude envelope and so on, and you can create a playable pad of sounds you’ve extracted from a loop.

Exclusive CDM sound pack

Just for you, we’ve got a sound pack entitled “Hyper Abstract Electronica.” It’s the work of London/Surrey artist Aneek Thapar, who has an extensive resume in mixing, mastering, and teaching, and has also worked with Novation and Ninja Tune’s iOS/Android remix app Ninja Jamm.

Aneek created something that’s really special, I think, in that it seems perfectly suited to creative abuse inside Regroover. Putting the two together makes this feel almost like a unique instrument.

Aneek clearly thinks of it that way. Watch what happens when he controls it with gestures and the Leap Motion (plus Ableton Push):

The pack is free; we’ll add you to our respective newsletters (which have opt-out options, of course).

Download Hyper Abstract Electronic – CDM Exclusive

I am actually really, really interested if people make any music with this, so please don’t be shy and do send us tracks if you come up with something. (If you aren’t ready to invest, of course, you’ve got a nice 14-day deadline to keep you productive!) I’ll share any really good ones with readers.

For more background on the research behind this:
Accusonus explain how they’re using AI to make tools for musicians

Diclosure: Accusonus sponsored the creation of this content with CDM.

The post Try AI remixing in Regroover with these tips and exclusive sounds appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

from Create Digital Music http://bit.ly/2AJlhJ9
via IFTTT

VIX – From Fear Index To Greed Index

Standard

Authored by Peter Tchir via Forbes.com,

We have all heard the VIX or volatility index referred to as the Fear Index or Fear Gauge.  Rising VIX was meant to signal fear in the markets.  That is how most investors have historically thought about VIX and traded it (directly or through Exchange Traded Products).

I have gone back in time and combined the total assets under management of XIV and SVXY (two short VIX products) and UVXY and VXX (the two largest long VIX products).  There are others and it doesn’t account for the fact that UVXY incorporates leverage, but the point is the same.

The funds that in theory helped investors ‘hedge’ their portfolios went from being the dominant species to those that enable investors to sell volatility.

Short VIX Funds are Larger than Long VIX Funds (source Bloomberg)

This has rarely been the case.

Typically investors had more interest in hedging their portfolios despite the evidence that the long VIX ETFs and ETNs had to continually perform reverse splits as their share prices drifted lower (some would argue "raced" lower is a more accurate description).

While the products looking to benefit on a volatility spike still attract inflows (otherwise their assets under management would be even lower), they have lost the competition to the VIX sellers.

The only other gap of similar size and duration was in late August 2015 – AFTER the market sold off and volatility spiked.

This time, it is occurring as stock markets are near all-time highs and VIX is still close to the all-time low it set just a few weeks ago (VIX is only calculated since 1990).

Whether this has finally reached a stage of complacency is anyone’s guess, but the "Golden Goose" of selling VIX that I wrote about in March of this year – is clearly not a secret.

I’m not overly concerned about complacency, it is after all, a slow and typically low vol period for domestic markets, but it is something that investors need to focus on.

A spike in volatility could be far more problematic than the market is prepared for as even a small spike could turn into a larger problem with so many people positioned the other way.

from Zero Hedge http://bit.ly/2AHdjAa
via IFTTT

Amazon FreeRTOS is a new operating system for microcontroller-based IoT devices

Standard

When you think of IoT devices, chances are you are thinking about a connected camera or sensor. Most of those devices have very basic CPUs and run Linux or a similar operating system. Not every IoT device actually features a real CPU, though. Instead they are powered by basic microcontrollers.Those devices (think smoke detectors, etc.) are often old and can’t directly connect to the cloud. They tend to run some version of the FreeRTOS operating system and kernel.

As AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced at the company’s re:Invent conference today, the company thought about this issue and decided to build its own operating system in the form of Amazon FreeRTOS. This is a microcontroller operating system that AWS says is meant to simplify the development and security of these very basic IoT devices. It’s meant to run on a low power connected device that can connect to the cloud — either directly or through AWS Greengrass.

Amazon FreeRTOS is, as the name implies, essentially an extension of the FreeRTOS operating system that adds libraries for local and cloud connectivity. Over time, Amazon will also add support for over-the-air updates.

from TechCrunch http://tcrn.ch/2ip0C5v
via IFTTT

Did Janet Yellen Just Recommend Buying Bitcoin

Standard

Janet Yellen’s last semi-annual testimony before Congress as Fed Chair has just concluded, and as usual it was filled with long-winded platitudes, which were enough to make the blood of anyone actually listening to her slow-motion drawl, come to a boil.

For one, Yellen’s hypocrisy hit bitcoinian levels when she had the temerity to say that she is “very disturbed” about the trend toward rising inequality, noting that the central bank only has a “blunt tool” that can’t be used to target certain groups. She’s right: the "blunt tool", also known as a money printer, is can – and has – been repeatedly used to target a certain group: the ultra wealthy, i.e., the 0.1%, those who as Credit Suisse showed two weeks ago, have never been wealthier.

 

And just to make sure all your blood has boiled over, Yellen added that the Fed is very focused on “very disturbing long-term trends” in inequality adding that "our own focus"” is on taking those trends and studying them… and making them bigger than ever she should have also added.

Demonstrating her extensive skills of pointing out the obvious, Yellen also said that “we’re suffering from slow productivity growth,” and there should be a focus on how that can be improved. It appears that the Fed is unaware that most employees spend several hours a day on Facebook, LinkedIn and SnapChat; it also appears that the Fed is unaware that most employers are aware of this, and is why there has been so little wage growth to "reward" this collapse in productivity.

Yellen had some advice: Congress and Trump administration “have a much wider set of tools” to address these urgent issues, which are “squarely in Congress’s court.” That would have been a more useful handoff about 9 years ago, which Bernanke could have made the same point instead of unleashing what has become a $15 trillion liquidity injecting between the world’s central banks.

If that wasn’t enough, Yellen’s hypocrisy then veered off into a tangent when she said that the central bank is concerned with "growth getting out of hand" and is committed to continuing to raise rates in a gradual manner. "We don’t want to cause a boom-bust condition in the economy," Yellen told Congress.

While Yellen did not specifically commit to a December rate hike, her comments indicated that her views have not changed with her desire for the central bank to continue normalizing policy after years of historically high accommodation.

"We are not seeing undue inflationary pressure in the labor market, so our policy remains accommodative," Yellen said. "But we do think it’s important to gradually move our policy rate toward what I’ll call a neutral level, which would be consistent with sustainably strong labor market conditions," she said.

Yellen said the Fed does not want to stifle growth but feels strongly about keeping consistent with a labor market that is nearing full employment. "We want to do this gradually, because if we allow the economy to overheat, we could be faced with a situation where we might have to … raise rates and throw the economy into recession," she said. "We don’t want to cause a boom-bust condition in the economy."

But the punchline was when Yellen said she is also, drumroll, "concerned over the surging level of public debt."

Yellen’s timely "concern" finally emerged as Congress is debating the passage of a tax cut bill which will cost around $1.5 trillion in new debt, and comes at a time when the CBO is already projecting a deficit of more than $1 trillion in the years ahead and with the total debt level at $20.6 trillion and rising.  Yellen was asked about a proposal that would trigger tax hikes if economic goals are not met. Yellen did not specifically comment on the trigger plan but said Congress is right to be thinking about the future of the national debt.

"I would simply say that I am very worried about the sustainability of the U.S. debt trajectory," Yellen said. "Our current debt-to-GDP ratio of about 75 percent is not frightening but it’s also not low."

"It’s the type of thing that should keep people awake at night," she added.

So let us get this straight: after nearly a decade of keeping rates at record low levels and directly monetizing all the deficit for Obama’s administration, Yellen is suddenly worried about the $20+ trillion in debt it has left the country with?

Apparently so. As even CNBC concedes, "the Fed has critics of its own, though, who say that the central bank helped balloon the debt through low interest rates kept in place since the financial crisis. The Fed kept its benchmark rate anchored near-zero for seven years, from December 2008 through December 2015. During that time, the national debt grew 77 percent."

Incidentally, Yellen is referring to the following CBO forecast, which sees US federal debt rising to levels last seen around the time of World War II:

Which also begs the question: fine, people are finally being "kept up at night" over something we, and others, have long said is a catastrophe for the US (except of course for those occasional econo-idiots known as the Magic Money Tree fanatics, or MMTers). So what is the alternative? If Yellen is right and the endgame is a collapse in the US economy, it means the days of the dollar as a reserve currency are numbered, incidentally something else not just we, but Deutsche Bank has also said previously. Recall what DB’s Jim Reid warned in September:

Global central banks have facilitated these elevated asset prices. A long series of global financial problems have now been passed through all parts of the financial system with most of these problems stacked up and now resting with central banks and Governments. The buildup of debt that this has created has forced central banks to keep yields at ultra-low levels, thus raising the prices of a variety of other global assets.

 

We think the final break with precious metal currency systems from the early 1970s (after centuries of adhering to such regimes) and to a fiat currency world has encouraged budget deficits, rising debts, huge credit creation, ultra loose monetary policy, global build-up of imbalances, financial deregulation and more unstable markets.

And if that is indeed the case, it would suggest that Yellen is indirectly – and directly – recommending that her audience buy bitcoin, because it is not just the US which finds itself in a fiscal and monetary dead end, it is every other fiat economy (something DB’s Jim Reid warned about two months ago). As a result, the only viable monetary system in a world in which even central banks now warn the debt is "too damn high", is one in which central banks themselves are disintermediated, i .e.  a world in which cryptocurrencies rule.

Which, in retrospect, is not a surprise: back in July we got an amusing, if very vivid harbinger, of what may be coming.

With bitcoin now roughly 4 times higher at $11,000 and rising exponentially, those who did as the above photo suggested, can probably retire….

from Zero Hedge http://bit.ly/2hZdDiu
via IFTTT

The Ethereum Killer Is Ethereum 2.0: Vitalik Buterin’s Roadmap

Standard

Speaking on November 25 at BeyondBlock Taipei 2017, Ethereum inventor and co-founder Vitalik Buterin outlined his vision for Ethereum 2.0. He described major changes in Ethereum’s architecture that are likely to be implemented over the next few years to improve Ethereum in terms of privacy, safety (consensus safety and smart contract safety) and, of course, scalability, which was the main focus of Buterin’s talk.

Buterin doesn’t seem worried about competitors. “The Ethereum killer is Ethereum, the Ethereum of China is Ethereum, the Ethereum of Taiwan is Ethereum… 2.0,” he said.

The fact that Ethereum is booming seems to confirm Buterin’s optimism. ETH’s price has been relentlessly climbing, recently reaching almost $500, and Ethereum is handling more transactions than all other major blockchains combined.

Decentralization, scalability and security are among the important properties that blockchain systems should have, but there are conflicts. Off-chain solutions are useful, but limited. According to Buterin, it’s very easy to have two of these properties but very hard to have all three. However, Ethereum’s ambitious goal should be that of achieving all three at the same time. “We want to scale to thousands of transactions per second, on chain, without any supernodes,” reads one of Buterin’s slides.

Sharding

Sharding — dividing a blockchain network into several smaller component networks (called shards) capable of processing transactions in parallel — is considered to be a promising way to achieve high throughputs comparable to the thousands of transactions per second of traditional payment networks such as Visa and MasterCard.

“You can think of [sharding] as, in a fairly simple version, creating a blockchain where you have, let’s say, a hundred different universes, and each of these universes is a different account space,” said Buterin. “So you can have an account in some universe or you can have a contract in some universe and you can send a transaction in some universe, and if you send a transaction in some universe it only affects stuff in some universe.

“But these kind of 100 universes are not just separate blockchains; they are systems that are also interconnected with each other,” continued Buterin. “Particularly, they share consensus. So in order to break even one of them, you have to break the whole thing.”

Buterin went on to describe relatively easy and more sophisticated ways to implement sharding in the Ethereum blockchain, outlining a sharding roadmap that foresees, at least initially, the creation of new “universes” that don’t impact the main chain while permitting iterative experimentation, such as introducing higher levels of scalability, starting with “quadratic scalability as nodes validate certain shards and act as light clients for other shards.”

Privacy

Buterin noted that zero-knowledge proof (zk-Snarks) privacy technology equivalent to Zcash has been implemented in the recent “Byzantium” Ethereum upgrade, offering application developers new ways to implement tighter privacy. These new privacy tools will permit showing transactions to specific parties while hiding them from public view. Buterin went as far as saying that the privacy problem is now three quarters of the way to being solved.

Proof of Work vs. Proof of Stake

A major upgrade to Ethereum will be the introduction of Proof of Stake (PoS) in Casper which, according to Buterin, might be ready by next summer. With the first release of Casper, Ethereum will transition from pure Proof of Work (PoW) to hybrid PoW/PoS. “In this scheme, all of the proof-of-work mechanics will continue to exist, but additional proof-of-stake mechanics will be added,” noted Buterin.

The main reason why PoS is seen as a necessary development is, of course, the need to reduce the energy requirements of PoW blockchains like the current versions of Ethereum and Bitcoin. A recent report claims that Bitcoin mining consumes as much power in a year as 159 countries, which is clearly far too much, and Buterin admitted that today’s Ethereum isn’t any better than Bitcoin in that respect.

Smart Contract Security

Smart contracts implemented with Turing-complete programming languages are arguably the main innovation introduced by Ethereum. While smart contracts are finding countless applications and moving lots of money, the security and safety of Ethereum smart contracts have been questioned. Buterin confirmed that Ethereum will eventually introduce formal verification for smart contracts and that a new Python-like smart-contract programming language — dubbed “Viper” — is being implemented to enable the development of safer Ethereum applications.

While Buterin hasn’t said anything that he has not said in previous talks and papers, his BeyondBlock talk served as a useful confirmation and summary of the ambitious Ethereum development roadmap.

Besides Buterin’s talk, all the talks given at BeyondBlock Taipei 2017 are included in the full video recordings of the morning session and the afternoon session.

from Bitcoin Magazine http://bit.ly/2j0Su8q
via IFTTT

Shopify’s Arrive app tracks your online orders on a live map

Standard

Now that Amazon’s smart-home-synced delivery service is unlocking doors for parcel drop-offs, we never have to worry about missing packages again. For anyone freaked out by the idea of a stranger entering their pad, there’s Shopify Arrive for iOS: A free app that taps in to your email e-receipts to provide online-order tracking from over 400 carriers. All the big guns are present, including UPS, USPS, FedEX, DHL, Canada Post, and Amazon — which should come in handy for those awaiting multiple items (it is the frantic holiday season, after all).

Once set up, Arrive displays your order receipts and shows you live map updates (so you can trace the progress of a parcel like you would an Uber ride). You can also set up push notifications and contact carriers, if a hitch should arise.

We’ve seen this type of thing before. On iOS alone, Arrive will have to scrap with several rivals, chief among them Slice: A Rakuten-owned app that essentially boasts the same functions as Shopify’s newcomer. (And who can forget USPS’ bizarre Christmas tree ornament, which had you gawking at a bauble for delivery updates). If there’s one thing that may set Arrive apart from its competitors, it’s privacy. While Slice is reportedly mining data for consumer insights, Shopify claims it will only use your info to improve the in-app experience.

Neither is this Shopify’s first app for shopaholics — around this time last year, it launched the Frenzy app for flash sales. It seems the company is making good use of its downtime from powering Facebook and Instagram’s shopping tools. Now all it’s lacking is a digital shopping assistant.

from Engadget http://engt.co/2i0lkVy
via IFTTT

Hey Idiots–You’re Gonna Lose All Your Money on Bitcoin, Idiots

Standard
Crazy shit! Via

Bitcoin is a fake and made-up scam. Can you articulate what it is? “Bullshit jargon that means nothing”-you. Hell no. All we can say for sure about this imaginary “coin” is that it is going to cost you a bundle (sucker).

Here’s a little history lesson for you. Some guy, or somebody, invented a thing called bitcoin, on the internet. Nobody knows what it is but you can buy drugs with it. Then people tell other people it’s the future, then the price starts going up and up. In the past year Bitcoin has risen in price by A THOUSAND PERCENT. A single Bitcoin now costs ten thousand freaking dollars. Ten thousand dollars is a lot of damn money, unlike a “bitcoin” which, who knows how much money it will be a week from now?

Untrustworthy.

There are two types of people out there, in the world of “investing.” There are those who look at that crazy ass chart of Bitcoin prices, shooting straight up like a rocket, and say, “Whoa, this is fragile as a damn hot souffle, I ain’t touching that!” Then there are the idiots—like you—who say, “Where I can but some ‘Bitcoin’ to get rich, like all my ‘gamer’ friends?” A wise man once said “What goes up must come down” and another, wiser man once said “All This Bitcoin Stuff Is Fake.” It’s not real, folks. For ten thousand dollars I’ll go buy myself a Jet Ski with bad ass stripes on the side. Okay? And you buy yourself a Bit coin. And we’ll see who has more fun.

Advertisement

If I pissed in an ice cube tray and told you it was a “block chain” you’d empty your god damn wallet at my feet. Get some sense, kid.

Mad? Go make all the angry comments you want on the internet. Then when the inevitable day comes when people wake up and realize they have a zillion dollars tied up in this imaginary thing that you can’t even eat, and the price comes crashing down, remember this day. Remember what I told you. Remember how hard headed you were. Remember who was stupid (you) and who was smart (me). Don’t come by the house to apologize, though— I’ll be out on my Jet Ski. With a waterproof bag of cold and hard cash (U.S. dollars).

from Lifehacker http://bit.ly/2ihxZat
via IFTTT

Recovery? We Have Tripled The Number Of Store Closings From Last Year…

Standard

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Did you know that the number of retail store closings in 2017 has already tripled the number from all of 2016?

Last year, a total of 2,056 store locations were closed down, but this year more than 6,700 stores have been shut down so far. 

That absolutely shatters the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and yet nobody seems that concerned about it.  In 2008, an all-time record 6,163 retail stores were shuttered, and we have already surpassed that mark by a very wide margin.  We are facing an unprecedented retail apocalypse, and as you will see below, the number of retail store closings is actually supposed to be much higher next year.

Whenever the mainstream media reports on the retail apocalypse, they always try to put a positive spin on the story by blaming the growth of Amazon and other online retailers.  And without a doubt that has had an impact, but at this point online shopping still accounts for less than 10 percent of total U.S. retail sales.

Look, Amazon didn’t just show up to the party.  They have been around for many, many years and while it is true that they are growing, they still only account for a very small sliver of the overall retail pie.

So those that would like to explain away this retail apocalypse need to come up with a better explanation.

As I noted in the headline, there are 20 different major retail chains that have closed at least 50 stores so far this year.  The following numbers originally come from Fox Business

1. Abercrombie & Fitch: 60 stores
2. Aerosoles: 88 stores
3. American Apparel: 110 stores
4. BCBG: 118 stores
5. Bebe: 168 stores
6. The Children’s Place: hundreds of stores to be closed by 2020
7. CVS: 70 stores
8. Guess: 60 stores
9. Gymboree: 350 stores
10. HHgregg: 220 stores
11. J.Crew: 50 stores
12. JC Penney: 138 stores
13. The Limited: 250 stores
14. Macy’s: 68 stores
15. Michael Kors: 125 stores
16. Payless: 800 stores
17. RadioShack: more than 1,000 stores
18. Rue21: up to 400 stores
19. Sears/Kmart: more than 300 stores
20. Wet Seal: 171 stores

If the U.S. economy was really doing well, then why are all of these major retailers closing down locations?

Of course the truth is that the economy is not doing well.  The U.S. economy has not grown by at least 3 percent in a single year since the middle of the Bush administration, and it isn’t going to happen this year either.  Overall, the U.S. economy has grown by an average of just 1.33 percent over the last 10 years, and meanwhile U.S. stock prices are up about 250 percent since the end of the last recession.  The stock market has become completely and utterly disconnected from economic reality, and yet many Americans still believe that it is an accurate barometer for the health of the economy.

I used to do a Black Friday article every year, but I have ended that tradition.  Yes, there were still a few scuffles this year, but at this point the much bigger story is how poorly the retailers are doing.

So far this year, more than 300 retailers have filed for bankruptcy, and we are currently on pace to lose over 147 million square feet of retail space by the end of 2017.

Those are absolutely catastrophic numbers.

And some analysts are already predicting that as many as 9,000 stores could be shut down in the United States in 2018.

Are we just going to keep blaming Amazon every time another retail chain goes belly up?

What we should really be focusing on is the fact that the “retail bubble” is starting to burst.  In the aftermath of the last financial crisis, retailers went on an unprecedented debt binge, and now a lot of that debt is starting to go bad.

In fact, in a previous article I discussed the fact that “the amount of high-yield retail debt that will mature next year is approximately 19 times larger than the amount that matured this year”.  This is going to have very serious implications on Wall Street, but very few people are really talking about this.

Most stores try to stay open through Christmas, but once the holiday season is over we will see another huge wave of store closings.

And as individual stores close down, this will put a lot of financial pressure on malls and shopping centers.  Not too long ago, one report projected that up to 25 percent of all shopping malls in the entire nation could close down by 2022, but I tend to think that number is too optimistic.

The retail industry in the United States is dying, and the biggest reason for that is not Amazon.

Rather, the real reason why the retail industry is in so much trouble is because of the steady decline of the middle class.  The gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is greater than ever, and we can clearly see the impact of this in the retail world.

Retailers that serve the very wealthy are generally doing well, and those that serve the other end of the food chain (such as dollar stores and Wal-Mart) are also doing okay.

But virtually all of the retailers that depend on middle class shoppers are really struggling, and this is going to continue for the foreseeable future.

Most American families are either living paycheck to paycheck or are close to that level, and these days U.S. consumers simply do not have much discretionary income to play around with.  More hard working Americans are going to fall out of the middle class with each passing month, and that is extremely bad news for a retail industry that is literally falling apart right in front of our eyes.

*  *  *

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

from Zero Hedge http://bit.ly/2zQ0JhS
via IFTTT